Our two-week survey of a small area in the Mamberamo River region of Irian Jaya, Indonesia, began September 1, 2000. Six participants from the Yongsu training course – one for each taxonomic group included in the survey – have been given the opportunity to participate with their instructors on an actual rapid assessment survey.
RAP TRAINING: Visit the research station in Yongsu, Indonesia as our experts train local scientists in hands-on field work
After the training, read daily journals straight from the field.
Day 1: Getting There
Hello Mother, Hello Father, Here I Am at Camp Dabra
As our small Helios aircraft flew south from Irian Jaya's capital city of Jayapura, I looked out the basketball-sized window at the changing landscape below. Within just a few minutes of takeoff, all evidence of humanity ended – trees and a wildly winding river were all I could see. Read the full dispatch >>
Day 2: Dabra Market
To Market, to Market
Dabra's market begins late today, around 3 PM. That gives Jerry and Paulus plenty of time to collect fish along the Furu River and its streams while making their way from camp to meet the canoe to Dabra. Read the full dispatch >>
Day 3: Dabra Camp
A Day in the Life
At 3:30 AM, Rose Singadan and Freddy Pattiselanno are up and getting ready to start the day. They gather their flashlights and cotton bags and head into the moonlit forest to check the mist nets for bats. Read the full dispatch >>
Day 4: Dabra Camp
Bat Woman, or My Stint as a Mammalogist
Hiking through this forest during daylight is difficult. My poor balance is constantly tested as I slide over rocks and trip on slick tree roots, all while ducking under vines and between thorny stems. Read the full dispatch >>
Day 5: Dabra Camp
A-Hunting We Will Go
"Let's go bug-hunting," doesn't sound very exciting. Probably won't work as a pick-up line. But now that I've done it – gone bug hunting, that is – I must admit that it's pretty fun.You have to watch your step, though. Read the full dispatch >>
Day 6: Moving the Camp
Camp Ikan Biru
After five days of surveying the forest around Dabra Camp 1, the teams have a good picture of the area's biodiversity. So today we moved to a second location. It's on the other side of Dabra, off the Tiri River. Read the full dispatch >>
Day 7: Camp Ikan Biru
It's a Bird! It's a Plant!
The mist nets got some traffic this morning: two birds, both kingfishers. The feathers on their heads and backs are a sparkling, electric blue. Their beaks are bright orange. Stunningly beautiful birds that are almost impossible to see flying in the forest, according to Bas van Balen. Read the full dispatch >>
Day 8: Camp Ikan Biru
Into the Mind of the Field Biologist
"My net! My net!" cries Brother Henk van Mastrigt as he leaps up from the bench mid-sentence. This inevitably is what happens when you try to have a conversation with a field biologist. Read the full dispatch >>
Day 9: Camp Ikan Biru
Snakes and Turtles and Crocs – Oh My!
I thought this morning that not much was going to happen today. Breakfast was late, and no one seemed to mind. Everyone was taking a little longer to get started. Things are winding down a bit because tomorrow is our last day here. Read the full dispatch >>
Day 10: Heading home
So Long, Farewell
We cleaned up Camp Ikan Biru and said "goodbye" to the forest today. During our two weeks in the Mamberamo area, we saw beautiful forest and amazing plants and animals. As we hiked out of the forest toward Dabra, I thought about the diversity of life this habitat supports. Read the full dispatch >>